TV is not without its good summer shows — enter Catastrophe — many of which are coming back this month. July also marks some highly bingeable series heading to streaming, while one (sorry, Magnum) is riding off into the sunset at the end of the month. Check out these 10 titles in July, with a little something for every bingeing taste.
What it is: Sharon (Sharon Horgan) is an Irish schoolteacher living in London, who has a weekend fling with Rob (Rob Delaney), an American ad man on a business trip to the UK. A month later, Sharon finds out that she’s pregnant, and Rob relocates to the U.K. to care for Sharon and their baby. Many amusing and cringe-worthy events take place as these two strangers attempt to build a life together.
Why you should watch it: Season one of Catastrophe is Certified Fresh at 100 percent on the Tomatometer, with critics praising its honest approach to the storytelling, and the chemistry between Horgan and Delaney. And with each of its six episodes clocking in at a breezy 25 minutes, it’s a perfect baby-sized binge for the commitment-phobic.
Where to watch: Amazon Prime
Commitment: Three hours.
Why you should watch it: The real magic of Ray Donovan, returning to Showtime for season three on July 12, is how the show’s pulpy drama is brought to life by believable performances — especially by Liev Schreiber, Jon Voight, Dash Mihok, and Eddie Marsan. You will feel simultaneously jealous of how the characters carelessly exchange bags of money, and relieved that you don’t need to blackmail someone in order to maintain your current lifestyle.
Commitment: 24 hours.
What it is: Premiering in 2004, Denis Leary‘s Rescue Me was a true dramedy before we started calling everything a dramedy, The series, which ran for seven seasons on FX, tells the story of the fictionalized New York City Fire Department Ladder Company 62, focusing on the lives of the “62 Truck” firefighters in the aftermath of 9/11.
Why you should watch it: As you wait for Leary’s Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll to hit the small screen on July 16, spend some time with his character Tommy Gavin, a complicated protagonist whose personal demons, unbridled masculinity, and complicated family life are just some of the reasons to binge Rescue Me. It’s also very funny.
Commitment: 90 hours.
What it is: The residents and domestic staff of a grand English country estate deal with household intrigue and societal upheaval in the first decades of the 20th Century.
Why you should watch it: In addition to its opulent setting, what makes the show so compulsively watchable, is its richly nuanced characters — each of whom are bound by societal conventions but occasionally finds a way to expand their limits. The show never fully celebrates or condemns its wealthy characters, nor does it heap nobility upon the servants; Downton Abbey places them into a context in which they all play the roles they’re assigned, but are also able to adjust to the upheavals of World War I and the Jazz Age.
Commitment: 43 hours.
What it is: Greg Poehler stars as Bruce Evans, a high-profile financial manager for American celebrities who uproots his life in New York to move to Stockholm for his Swedish girlfriend Emma (Josephine Bornebusch), whose friends and family he hopes to impress.
Why you should watch it: Season two premieres on July 19, which gives you plenty of time to catch up on the Certified Fresh first season’s ten episodes. Loosely based on Poehler’s own life, the series is a witty, lighthearted fish-out-of-water comedy that benefits from smart writing, a talented supporting cast, and several famous, self-parodying cameos, including Will Ferrell, Gene Simmons, and Poehler’s own sister Amy.
Commitment: Four hours.
What it is: Scientists for the CDC deploy to the Arctic to investigate an unexplained disease that could mean the potential destruction of mankind, but the secrets awaiting them reveal a whole other type of horror.
Why you should watch it: It’s a suspenseful, plot-driven mystery that overlaps to entice fans of various categories (crime, mystery, character-driven drama). The performances are almost-but-not-quite campy, distributing elements of fun into a cryptic guessing game of who is responsible for the show’s calamitous events and why. And the remote, icy, and isolated (ice-olated?) locale might as well be in outer-space, with its eerie disparateness another reason to engage sci-fi fans.
Where to watch: Both seasons are on Amazon Instant Video, iTunes, and Vudu. Season one is also available on Netflix, and some of the later episodes of season two are on SyFy.com (with cable subscription) and XFinity.
Commitment: 19 hours.
What it is: In Mike Judge‘s comedy set in Bay Area’s tech universe, Richard (Thomas Middleditch) and his team of socially awkward developers make an app, catching the attention of the area’s billionaire investor.
Why you should watch it: Season two, which many critics consider to be even better than season one, makes its streaming debut on July 13, and the cast — featuring Middleditch, T.J. Miller, and Kumail Nanjiani — perfectly captures the oddball characters who rule the Internet.
Commitment: 10 hours.
What it is: In Strike Back, two members of a top-secret organization known as Section 20 — Michael Stonebridge, a British sergeant, and Damien Scott, a Delta Forces operative — fight terrorism around the globe.
Why you should watch it: An under-the-radar series on Cinemax, Strike Back is a fast-paced action thriller akin to 24, with high production values in line with premium cable. The fourth and final season premieres Friday, July 31.
Where to watch: The first three seasons are available on Max Go, DVD and Blu-ray
Commitment: 30 hours.
What it is: Employed by a famous, reclusive author who lives on a beachfront estate in Hawaii, private investigator Thomas Magnum (Tom Selleck) works the property’s security detail alongside no-nonsense ex-British Army officer Jonathan Higgins (John Hillerman) and solves various cases that come their way.
Why you should watch it: The theme song. The mustache. The Ferrari. The odd couple buddy-cop camaraderie. What more could you ask for? Magnum P.I. is one of the rare quintessential ’80s TV shows that somehow retains its entertainment value to this day, and every episode of its eight-season run is currently available on Netflix . They won’t be there for much longer, though, since it will be removed from Netflix’s streaming lineup at the end of July, so slip into a Hawaiian shirt, grab a cocktail, and get to bingeing!
Where to watch: The complete series is currently available to stream on Netflix.
Commitment: About 130 hours.
What it is: When mother-to-be Maggie Caruso (Lennon Parham) finds out her husband is having an affair online, her best friend Emma Crawford (Jessica St. Clair) moves home from Shanghai to help her get ready for the baby.
Why you should watch it: Creators Parham and St. Clair have a special chemistry that elevates the premise to a funny, smart, and thoroughly watchable comedy — plus Keegan-Michael Key has a lovable supporting role as Emma’s high school flame. With the delivery of season two expected this August, now is the perfect time to catch up.
Commitment: Five hours.
Which of these shows would you recommend to a friend? Let us know in the comments section below!